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Korean War Veterans Association

Chartered by Congress June 30, 2008
*Korean War and Korea Service Veterans...
A Continuity of Service in the Defense of Freedom

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

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Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, May 13, 2006. Louis Dechert, President of the Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA), announced a new annual President's Award today—The Presidential Member of the Year Award. Dechert who is winding up his first term of office (two years), said that he wanted a personal way to reward the member who in his opinion did the most to accomplish the mission of the KWVA during the current year. “I (the President) am personally purchasing the award, and will evaluate and determine the recipient as I see it. It is the President's award, not the award of the KWVA” which has never instituted a National Awards system of this type.

Unfortunately for Dechert he determined there was a five-way tie for the award. So he is awarding five awards in this inaugural year.

The five winners are National Assistant Secretary Jake Feaster of Micanopy, Florida; National MIA/POW Coordinator Marty O'Brien of Augusta, Maine; National Recruiting Chairman and Director Jeff Brodeur, Hyannis, Massachusetts; James Doppelhammer, Webmaster, Charleston, Illinois; and Colonel Charley Price, of Tallahassee, Florida.

Four of the five men are members who volunteer their services, often running to over 70 hours a week. The fifth man, Mr. Doppelhammer, also a member, is contracted for a minimum amount of hours and donates twice as many to the task. All of the men, other than Doppelhammer, perform several additional duties for the national organization.

Mr. Feaster and Mr. Doppelhammer have developed a KWVA Management Information System involving a data base which every leader in the organization may access for assistance in managing their local levels of the organization and exchanging information of national importance. Dechert characterized the two men's accomplishment as “streamlining something that did not even exist before their efforts.”

Mr. Brodeur was instrumental in involving, recruiting, and assimilating new, younger, veterans into the KWVA. For the current year the KWVA recruiting effort has resulted in new record numbers of first time individuals joining the organization. In addition, active duty military personnel serving in the Republic of Korea are being recruited, another first.

Brodeur, in conjunction with Dechert, developed several new lines of insignia and other KWVA distinctive items which have been quite popular with the membership.

Mr. O'Brien developed a MIA-POW activity which is professional and respected in the veteran community. He also led the KWVA efforts seeking the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor for Chaplain Emil J. Kapuan, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, who died as a POW in North Korea. O'Brien also was a leader for the KWVA in supporting legislation for award of the Purple Heart to all who died as POW from World War II forward. Earlier in his career his research helped the Department of Defense and the American Battle Monuments Commission to update their respective casualty data bases. He is a recognized authority in the areas of casualties, KIA, MIA, and POW. In addition Mr. O'Brien has served the President extensively in special tasks, editorial duties, and trouble shooting various situations. He is also a member of the Ethics and Grievance Committee of the KWVA.

Colonel Price, a Special Forces colleague of Dechert over a forty year span, has served the President and the association in many capacities for the past two years. His service was in addition to his full time employment on the staff of Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

His most recent accomplishment, for which the recognition is being awarded, is the successful Fund Raising drive just nearing completion. The fund raiser is unique in that three vintage model weapons of the Korea War will be awarded to a single individual. It was conceived completely by Price who also obtained the weapons for the prize. Price was assisted in carrying out the campaign by a CPA firm and three KWVA members in addition to himself. The three month fund raiser developed over $100,000 for the organization. In addition, Price served the President and the Association as Acting Judge Advocate for over a year, Legislative Director for over a year, Veterans' Service Officer for a year, and Chief of Staff for two years.

Mr. Feaster received his award on May 13 at the Department of Florida Convention in Gainesville. Mr. Brodeur received his award on June 17 at the annual meeting of the KVA at Fitchburg, MA. Colonel Price received his award on June 17 at the National Headquarters, Camp Beauregard, LA. Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Doppelhammer are unable to travel at this time. They will receive their awards as soon as appropriate ceremonies can be arranged.

The awards were designed by Dechert and Mr. Phil Darbonne, owner of Great Personalized Gifts, located in Youngsville, Louisiana. His firm is an official supplier to the National Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) as well as to the Korea Veterans of America (KVA), the US Federation of Korea Veterans Associations, and the Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA).

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Approved for release: LT Dechert, (318) 641-8293

 

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